Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Queering a Black Temporality in Octavia Butler's Kindred : Ruminations on a Black-Oriented Understanding of Time
by Sautman, Matthew B., M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2018, 97; 10974012
Abstract (Summary)

This study interrogates the resonances of queer utopianism in Octavia Butler’s presentation of time in Kindred in order to address the lack of existing scholarship on the novel’s relationship with queer temporality. To conduct this interrogation, I utilize the work of queer optimists like Muñoz, Berlant, and Ahmed to deconstruct the text phenomenologically in conjunction with queer pessimists like Halberstam and Edelman to nuance this analysis. To prevent this analysis from being overtaken by a white gaze, I also make use of Black scholars like Morrison, Sharpe, Cooper, Gates, and Collins. In my analysis, I divide Butler’s presentation of time into present, past, and future- whereas the present refers to the American Bicentennial and the cultural disconnect the protagonist Dana experiences in her relationship with her white husband, the past signals the pull of Antebellum era white supremacist patriarchy and Dana’s need to engage in archival work to reconstitute the history that has been denied to her, and the future implies a nebulousness that blurs both eras together and instills the novel’s ending with an ambiguity that lends itself to both pessimistic and optimistic readings. I emphasize how Butler positions Black temporality as a queer temporality in the novel that challenge readers’ own relationship with the dominant white patriarchal culture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cali, Elizabeth
Commitee: Gurfinkel, Helena, Ramaswamy, Anushiya
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 58/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Black studies, American literature, Gender studies, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: American exceptionalism, Historiography, Phenomenology, Post-colonialism, Queer utopianism, Temporality
Publication Number: 10974012
ISBN: 978-0-438-79232-6
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